Ottawa County to Celebrate Second Annual Grand River GreenUp This Earth Day Weekend

West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Grand Haven Area Jaycees are returning to the Grand River on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to noon for the Second Annual Grand River GreenUp, in partnership with Ottawa County Parks & Recreation and the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

On Earth Day 2011, more than 300 volunteers came out to remove 5,790 lbs of trash and 940 lbs of recyclables from the Grand River near Riverside County Park in Robinson Township.  The project began initially when Jaycees member Brock Rodgers participated in the Annual Mayor’s Grand River Clean Up in Grand Rapids, which WMEAC has presented each fall for the past nine years.  Rodgers and the Jaycees approached WMEAC with a plan to create a similar event that would occur downriver, presented last year in partnership with the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.  This year, organizers are presenting an expanded event as part of the 2012 Grand River Greenway Celebration, with enough clean-up sites to accommodate 450 volunteers.   

“Our hope is to expand this year’s event to cover more riverfront, activate more volunteers, and clean up more trash,” said Brock Rodgers, Chair of the GreenUp Organizing Committee and Environmental Engineer at izzy+, co-sponsors of the event.  “Last year we were just happy to have an event at all.  We would have been satisfied if only a few people came out and helped us clean up the river in Ottawa County, but it turned out to be WMEAC’s biggest clean-up yet and one of the biggest Earth Day events in the state.”

This year’s Grand River GreenUp is made possible in part by a grant from the Youth Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.  Also critical to the event are Sustaining Sponsors izzy+, Renue Salon and Day Spa, JSJ Corporation, The Sons of the American Legion, Starbucks Coffee, and Anthony’s Kicked-Up Catering.  Each of these companies has committed to support the event for three years, helping to ensure its long-term sustainability. 

Registration for the Grand River GreenUp begins at 9 a.m. at Riverside County Park.  A continental breakfast and refreshments will be provided. Vehicles leave to designated clean-up sites at 9:30 am.  Lunch will be served to volunteers upon their return.  The first 400 volunteers will receive an event T-shirt.  The first 200 volunteers will also receive a metal water bottle.  There will also be a drawing for door prizes and gift bags. 

Individuals and organizations interested in taking part in the Grand River GreenUp as volunteers should contact volunteer@wmeac.org or register at www.grandrivergreenup.com.  Organizations interested in making a donation for door prizes or gift bags should contact Daniel Schoonmaker at 616.451.3051 x28 or dschoonmaker@wmeac.org.  Cash donations can be made at www.grandrivergreenup.com.


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